‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Hemsworth’s Thor looks beyond the god

May 01, 2015 | 12:05 p.m.
Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Disney / Marvel)

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (Disney / Marvel)

Chris Hemsworth has been a god for many movies now.

In “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” director Joss Whedon’s sequel to 2012’s “The Avengers,” the Australian once again picks up the hammer of Thor, an Asgardian prince and the Norse god of thunder. Hemsworth’s Thor continued his feud with his brother Loki from the original “Avengers” in two solo features, with a third arriving in 2017.

Being a warrior deity is a demanding job.

“The last couple of years have been nuts, kind of since ‘Thor 1.’ Last year was the hardest because I did two films back to back and was trying to lose weight through all of them,” Hemsworth said.

With such a powerful character, many of Hemsworth’s concerns for “Age of Ultron” and his character were physical. Weight was an issue (“Losing the weight is being underfed and overtrained and tired and cranky — that’s a less enjoyable existence. I’d rather put on the weight.”), as was making the son of Odin “a more relaxed humanlike Thor” on screen.

“It can become very serious because of what his responsibilities are, and you feel a little restricted at times with the fact that he’s a god and from another world,” Hemsworth said. “His speech patterns, trying to break some of that —  which I think we did achieve — is something I said to Joss a long time ago and something he wanted to do.”

In terms of the group dynamic, the story line sees the Avengers working independently of S.H.I.E.L.D., the government overseers who led them in the first film.

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Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, left, Chris Evans as Captain America, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Chris Hemsworth as Thor, left, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans Steve Rogers in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Ultron (voiced by James Spader), left, and Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, left, and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man's Hulkbuster suit (Robert Downey Jr.) versus the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), left, and Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, left, and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment: Marvel)

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Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), left, and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), left, and one of his mercenaries (Bentley Kalu) in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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Thomas Kretschmann as Baron von Strucker in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel)

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The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), left, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) assemble in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Marvel)

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The heroes of "Avengers: Age Of Ultron," from left: Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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The villainous Ultron Prime (voiced by James Spader) in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, left, and Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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Chris Evans as Captain America, left, and Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and Chris Evans as Captain America in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Jay Maidment / Marvel Studios)

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From left: Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes in "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." (Film Frame / Marvel Studios)

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Elizabeth Olsen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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An actor films on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Director Joss Whedon and star Aaron Taylor-Johnson on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Actors in motion-capture gear on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are seen on location in Aosta, Italy, for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

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Aaron Taylor-Johnson is seen filming 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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Jeremy Renner is seen filming on location for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" on March 24, 2014 in Aosta, Italy. (Photopix / Getty Images)

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General view of location of 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' in Pont-Saint-Martin in Aosta, Italy, on March 24, 2014. (Photopix/Getty Images)

“It’s chaos. It’s like the teacher’s walked away and left the classroom,” said Hemsworth.

Hemsworth’s classmates in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” include Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).  Newcomers include James Spader as the titular villain Ultron, Paul Bettany as the Vision, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver.

Hero Complex caught up with Hemsworth during filming to get his thoughts about returning to a group dynamic, Thor’s place in the world and cleansing his acting palate with nonheroic roles.

On being part of an ensemble and sequel

It’s great for different reasons. The whole process is obviously more familiar to all of us, having played our individual characters and having been the ensemble before and it having worked. There’s less pressure. I was talking to Robert back in L.A. before we came and [we were] both just excited to come and catch up with everyone again. Once in your career you get something like this that has this kind of following and this kind of success, and so to be a part of it is just great. It’s nice to share the load with everyone — you don’t have it all on your shoulders like you do in your individual films. I think you’ve got to work harder to work out what your place in the puzzle is. For me, ‘What is Thor’s journey?’ ‘Is this an advancement from what he’s done before?’ ‘Is it something different?’ For me it was an opportunity to see what else we could do with the character and that’s the challenge.

It’s familiar and exciting because of the success of it all, but the challenge is not popping it into neutral and just coasting through it, getting lazy with it. Each time it’s been really different because of different directors, completely different kind of stories and things.

On where Thor is in “Age of Ultron”

He’s been on Earth as of the last film, so when Joss and I were talking we were like, “Let’s get back to some of that humor he had the first time around and a bit more sort of a sense of fun.” Also him being on Earth or having been on Earth, he can afford to be a bit more grounded and human now. He doesn’t have to be as godly as he does when he appears in Asgard. There’s a whole different setting there — the costumes, the sets — so you kind of look out of place if it’s pulled back into Earthly tones. So there’s more of a sense of humor, more fun at the beginning, once the conflict starts to pick up. I didn’t want him to be the muscle or another soldier. What can he be doing differently? What does he bring to the table? Joss and I were talking about Asgardian knowledge [and what] his thousands of years of existence can give them here. He starts to clue into a bigger picture that may be in place here. There’s the current conflict, but where has this spiraled from and what kind of domino affect is it going to have with the rest of the universe? It’s nice [because] he kind of segues off on his own journey for a minute and ties back in with everyone else.

On seeing more interpersonal dynamics throughout the group

We see a little more of people’s private lives. You’ve already built the foundation of who they are, now we get the luxury to look a little deeper. I think Thor and Cap have a clearer communication. A lot of the time you’re shouting orders to each other or you’re throwing your weapon at the enemy as opposed to looking in amongst the group and having some kind of constructive conversation. There’s a bit of both. Thor and Iron Man have some nice friendship/animosity, laughs. I think they’re too similar, that’s the problem. I’ve got people like that in my life, you’re so similar that you have the best of times sometimes, but when you’re butting heads it’s the worst. I think it’s a bit [like that] with them. When they can get along it’s great, two guys trying to lead something doesn’t work too well — in this case, there’s like seven of us trying to lead. I think they all have pretty big egos.

On acting in nonsuperhero projects in between

I think if I was to kind of do these things back to back it would be tough. With any character, by the end of that four-month stretch you do lose steam. You kind of exhaust that character. Each time you do something different, whether it’s a different director, especially a different character, you just look at it from a different angle. “Snow White and the Huntsman” was I guess similar in the fantastical element of it. The character came from a different place but it was probably the most similar to Thor, whereas the things I’ve done with Ron [Howard on “Rush”] and the Michael Mann thing [“Blackhat”] — far from it, which was refreshing. It was nice to do something simpler where the dialogue and the drama is the focus, not the special effects.

On Joss Whedon

I take my hat off to him, not only for writing such an entertaining story but [also because] I think everyone feels like they have a solid journey. If it wasn’t that, it wouldn’t be as much fun.

We know each other better. He has that great self-deprecating humor and attitude. I think that’s what keeps him on his toes. I think the moment you get too comfortable you don’t work as hard. That guy just doesn’t stop. Certainly having that relationship now makes everything easier.

There’s plenty of classic stories of relationships on screen that were brilliant where they hated each other off screen. We thankfully don’t have that so we just get to have a good time.

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." (Disney / Marvel)

Chris Hemsworth as Thor in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” (Disney / Marvel)

On the look of Thor

It’s not so much the hammer, it’s the costume. Like, OK, I’ve got to put this big, heavy, hot, uncomfortable thing on again. The cape and the boots and the wig and the whole thing. It’s a physical load you kind of carry through the day.

He has a couple of scenes where we see him in casual gear. There’s a party scene with all the Avengers and Thor turns up in a three-quarter-length, nice fitted coat and everyone was like, “When did Thor go shopping?” We wanted to see that scene of him trying on different jackets. It’ll be the extras on the DVD.

On not playing opposite Tom Hiddleston

It’s nice to see what other people bring out of Thor. [With] certain characters, you get restricted with where you can push each other. How many times can you have that conversation? You did this to me. The most enjoyable stuff I’ve done, a lot of it has been with Tom.

On working with James Spader

We’re never going to actually see his face. That’s what was so impressive. All his physicality and facial movements are going to be replicated into whatever his character’s going to look like. He’s just awesome. The first day on set, he came on and there’s a big scene with all of us there. He enters and has this couple-page speech and we just all started clapping at the end. We forgot our lines because we were captivated by what he was doing. It was like watching a stage play.

— Gina McIntyre and Jevon Phillips | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


One Response to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’: Hemsworth’s Thor looks beyond the god

  1. Joanie says:

    Love Chris Hemsworth he has made a fantastic Thor, really all of them are wonderful in these films, as well as there own, just came back from seeing Age Of Ultron it was fantastic, had wonderful fighting scenes, and lots of humor,in the end the audience gave it a standing ovation. You don't get that often.5 stars guys and black widow. You've done it again. Plus joss you did an amazing job again. We will surely miss you. Best of luck in whatever you do next.

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